When Jack Tatum began work on Life of Pause, his third full-length to date, he had lofty ambitions: Don’t just write another album; create another world. One with enough detail and texture and dimension that a listener could step inside, explore, and inhabit it as they see fit. “I desperately wanted for this to be the kind of record that would displace me,” he says. “I’m terrified by the idea of being any one thing or being of any one genre. And whether or not I accomplish that, I know that my only hope of getting there is to constantly reinvent. That reinvention doesn’t need to be drastic, but every new record has to have its own identity, and it has to have a separate set of goals from what came before.”
In my opinion, Tatum has lived up to his word and then some. His musical identity is truly a myth. I’d have to make up a word and say it’s genre ambiguous. On one track you’ll get a feel of somber feelings with acapella vocals but rock out with guitar riffs on the next track, followed by a serenade via xylophone. It’s a great problem to have.
I initially heard of Wild Nothing back in 2013 thanks to the mobile app Shazam. I heard a track titled “Shadow” and immediately felt something. I was out running errands and heard tunes to which my ears had never heard before. I immediately stopped what I was doing, grabbed a chair, stood on said chair, and put my phone as close to the ceiling speaker as I could. I’ve been a fan of Wild Nothing ever since.
On iTunes, the genre assigned to him was “Alternative” but he could literally fall into a plethora of categories for his music. His current album “Life of Pause” beautiful example of his musical genius and why he can’t be categorized.
Ever since I heard “Shadow” four years ago, I add anything he makes to my “relax” playlist on iTunes. On the opening track Reichpop, you’ll be lulled into relaxation for the first minute and thirty seconds via the aforementioned xylophone. 90 solid seconds will pass before vocal accompaniment, leaving you as the listener in wonder about which direction this track could take.
While its an album that you can play in its entirety and not get bored of any single track, I do have my favorites: “Lady Blue” “Life of Pause” “Alien” “Adore” and “TV Queen.”
What I love about all the tracks I listed is that not only do they stand out (to me) as my favorites, but every one of them sounds different. When Jack said he was “terrified of any one thing” he was not kidding.
The track “Alien” sounds unlike any other track on his album. The track is keyboard heavy but relies on guitar rifts throughout the track to give it completeness. As the track draws to a close, the vocals stop and you’re forced to give in to the music. The drums, keyboard, and guitar whisk you away from whatever your focus may be to a state of relaxation.
The track “Whenever I” sounds like something you might hear on a video game. As the song opened it gave me thoughts of childhood where my friends and I would play “Street Fighter II” and “Turtles in Time” (both on Super Nintendo) all-day long. It’s a mellow track that you could listen to on your XBOX or play in the background as you clean your room.
“Life of Pause” is a solid album, hands down. It gets 9 out of 10 from me and I hate I couldn’t catch him in concert while he was in town, I heard he puts on a fantastic show (which I truly believe based on his album).
Photos: Shawn Brackbill